NInety-five per cent of callers satisfied with local out of hours palliative care provision in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin

2 February 2021 10:01am

Issued by Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin 

Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin have just published a report about how palliative care is provided outside of normal GP hours in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Following a call asking if people would be willing to share their experiences of out of hours palliative care they heard from patients, relatives and medical professionals across the area.

Since July 2018 all out of hours calls have been directed to NHS 111. In Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin this service is provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service. In early March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic the number of calls to NHS 111 grew which led to some delays in calls from patients being answered.

To offer additional support at this time ShropDoc introduced a dedicated Palliative Care Helpline. The aim of the Healthwatch Survey was to understand the experience of patients on a palliative care pathway, and those supporting them, in getting help when they needed it from NHS 111 and ShropDoc during the pandemic.

Some of the key findings are:

  • Where patients couldn’t be helped on their first contact and needed a call back ShropDoc called 100% of those people back within 30 minutes. NHS 111 responded to 44% of patients in 30 minutes.
  • 95% of callers to ShropDoc reported being either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the time of the response against 40% of callers to NHS 111.
  • All patients and carers were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the service provided during their contacts with ShropDoc as opposed to just over half with their contacts with NHS 111.
  • Patient/Carers rated their overall experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ in 100% of contacts with ShropDoc as opposed to 36% of NHS 111 contacts.

Click here for the full report.

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, said: “As a person nears end of life, whether they are in hospital or being supported at home, there is only one chance for the providers of care to get it right. For patients at the end of their lives with distressing symptoms, any delay in receiving care is unacceptable.

"We are still keen to hear about people’s experiences, both good and not so good, as they are crucial in helping local services understand what is important to patients and their families and how things can be improved.”

Barry Parnaby, Chair of Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin, said: “We are very grateful that families who have just been through, or were going through, one of the most difficult times in their lives took the time to talk to us. We have shared the report with the local health services and the experiences that the families have shared will be used to improve the services offered in future.”

Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin are the independent consumer champions for health and social care in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.

They gather the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services.

They also have statutory powers that can be used to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.